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The Best Black Friday Guides, and the 'Nasty Surprises'

Top primers on top deals
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 23, 2018 10:44 AM CST

(Newser) – It's Black Friday, and if you didn't get a jump on your holiday shopping on Thanksgiving itself (or even if you did), there are more deals waiting for you today. The New York Times sums up what products make sense to shop for (video games, "smart" home gadgets, headphones) and what to avoid (large kitchen appliances, outdoor gear), both online and at the bricks-and-mortars. It even provides a cheat sheet to help you streamline your post-Turkey Day spree. And it is important to be organized about this. "Come into Black Friday with a list," says Alex Roth of the Times' Wirecutter product review site. "Don't just buy things and figure you can return them later, because the holiday return lines are horrible." Here, a meta "guide to the guides of Black Friday":

  • Big-name deals: Certain retailers rule the Black Friday roost, and Money has the best deals from the biggest vendors, including Amazon, Target, Walmart, and Best Buy. The latter, for example, is offering a 58-inch Westinghouse smart TV for $250 (regularly $400), while Target's got a KitchenAid 5-quart mixer for $220 (a $230 savings) and Beats by Dre Solo3 wireless headphones for $180 instead of the usual $300.
  • Smaller-name deals: On the flip side, BuzzFeed covers the big price savings you can stumble on at stores you maybe never heard of—and it's got nearly 60 of them to choose from. Foxybae and Mother may not be household names, for example, but it's where you'll find hair care items like straightening brushes and curling wands for 60% off, or clothing for 70% off, respectively.

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  • Specific categories: Tech items are always hot sellers, and Kinja Deals features a constantly updating primer for deals on everything from laptops and cameras to accessories like battery packs and storage devices. Kinja also has a well-organized "hub" for other categories, like "Home" and "Clothing & Lifestyle."
  • 2 heavyweights: At Forbes, Gordon Kelly has put together a "Black Friday Versus" series, in which he pits two retailers against each other to give you insight into which deals are better at which store. The latest in the series: Amazon vs. Walmart.
  • What to avoid: Kelly also has a "Nasty Surprises" series, in which he pores over Black Friday deals to let consumers know which ones aren't such a great buy (and where you can buy those same items for better prices instead). He covers the usual suspects, including Amazon, Costco, Walmart, Target, and the latest, Sam's Club.
  • Do's and dont's: The Conversation wants you to make smart choices while you're battling the crowds, and so it warns you of "the tactics that retailers use" so that you won't spend too much, or buy things you later wish you hadn't). The Chicago Tribune offers a similar "do's and don'ts" list.
(A shooting at Alabama's biggest shopping mall while it was open for holiday sales.)

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